Landscape approach: bridging the climate agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals

Member of a community-based nursery living adjacent to Mount Elgon National Park in southeast Uganda. Agroforestry is one practice that can promote multifunctional climate-smart landscapes. By Olivia E. Freeman/ICRAF

Member of a community-based nursery living adjacent to Mount Elgon National Park in southeast Uganda. Agroforestry is one practice that can promote multifunctional climate-smart landscapes. By Olivia E. Freeman/ICRAF

How can an integrated landscape approach contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and advance climate-smart objectives? The World Agroforestry Centre’s publication, Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice, to be released at the Global Landscapes Forum on the sidelines of the COP20, explains this.

As leaders and policy makers prepare to caucus at the UN climate talks in Peru, the world will be waiting for solutions to what has become a major challenge to development – climate change. Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice highlights the opportunities that landscape approaches present for achieving multiple, climate, social, development and environmental objectives.

The global environmental and developmental agendas are now converging to address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Chapter 8 of the book addresses the question of how an integrated landscape approach contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the last 30 years, there have been innumerable attempts by governments and societies to intervene within social, economic and environmental dimensions to advance towards sustainable development. These include agreements such as the Agenda 21, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), RIO+20, and soon to be redefined as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cheikh Mbow, a climate change scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre and co-author of the publication remarks, “The SDGs build upon and supplement the MDGs creating what is being termed the post-2015 agenda. The emerging development agenda will greatly depend upon achieving environmentally sustainability that reinforces the capacity to achieve associated social and economic dimensions.”

It is anticipated that many countries will not be able to achieve their economic and social development goals without modifying practices, policies and investments to fully encompass environmental sustainability. Current agricultural practices cause many negative consequences on existing environmental resources. The emerging SDGs seek to increase efficiency in the use of land, water and agricultural inputs to better contribute to environmental goals while bridging the gap between current yields and the projected requirements to feed the world’s growing population.

Constance Neely, senior advisor for the integration of knowledge, policy and practice at the World Agroforestry Centre, and co-author adds, “The recent concept of climate-smart landscapes comes across as a practical way to achieve mitigation, adaptation and agricultural production objectives while ensuring environmental sustainability. In this way, the climate agenda is compatible with the overall sustainable development agenda, as the two cannot be tackled by separate means. It is therefore timely to discuss the landscape approach in the implementation of the SDGs”.

Without governance systems that provide the means to integrate decision-making and management across sectors, it has been difficult over the years to achieve integration of social, economic and environmental objectives. The integrated landscape approach enables science, practice and policy to overcome barriers and accelerate action for achieving the SDGs and associated targets.

Mbow, C., Neely, C., & Dobie, P. How can an integrated landscape approach contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and advance climate-smart objectives? In Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality In Practice. P. 103 – 115.

Climate-Smart Landscapes: Multifunctionality in Practice will be launched at the Global Landscape Forum, a side event of the UN climate conference, on 6 December from 12.15 – 1.45p.m.

See full program at http://worldagroforestry.org/cop20

The book:

  • Brings together for the first time a range of original research and case studies on landscape approaches
  • Specifically looks at the pathways, methods and tools needed for achieving synergy between various stakeholders, sectors and institutions at the landscape to meet multiple objectives
  • Presents new ways to bring together science, policy and practice as well as identifying specific opportunities for private sector involvement in landscape approaches

The publication will be available online at http://asb.cgiar.org/climate-smart-landscapes/index.html after its launch.

Related links:

Climate change blogs from ICRAF

Photos related to the Landscape approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation

 

 

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Susan Onyango

Susan Onyango

Susan Onyango is the communications specialist for climate change for the World Agroforestry Centre and is based at the headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. With over 12 year’s experience in communication, she promotes the World Agroforestry Centre’s work on climate change, writes blogs and provides communication advice and support to scientists. Susan holds a MA communication studies and a BA in English. Twitter: @susanonyango

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